Metamorphosis and Such

This little miracle never grows old: the way these fat little crawling creatures turn into graceful beauties that flit away on the breeze.



It’s such a fun, easy way to bring some real-life science into the classroom. Are monarch butterflies perhaps making a comeback? I searched in vain for caterpillars the last few years, but this year I didn’t even collect all the ones I found. My kids were enthralled. They also learned to say the big word metamorphosis, and I think they even understand what it means.


This little miracle never grows old either: the way I get goosebumps of pure joy when I get to stand in front of a roomful of eager children that I call “mine,” after a summer of having no children. This first month of school has flown by in all its busyness, craziness, and happiness.

I now know what it’s like to have my little room stuffed with twenty-three students. That little gap you see is where there’s actually still space for the door to swing in (which is always a plus, you know).


The space problem is working out better than I was afraid it might. It does make some issues though, one of which is the fact that a row of desks has to be against the wall, right by the heater. This heater has all kinds of little grooves and crevices just large enough for things like pencils to fall into and just small enough to make fishing the things back out almost impossible. You would not believe how many pencils, crayons, etc. that heater has already eaten.

Going through a day with this class is a little like hanging onto the reins of a very spirited young horse. Stay alert and give proper guidance, and you can GO PLACES. But slacken the reins just a little, and you’re in for a runaway.

Although when I stopped to consider things the other day, I realized that I have about eighteen students who pretty much do what they’re told and listen in class and get their work done like they should. But then I have about five who, um. . . keep life interesting. I need constant reminders not to let the five overshadow the eighteen.

This is what happens when you have construction at your school over the summer, and the new grass needs a chance to grow.


But we gladly put up with minor inconveniences like this, because the construction project means that we now have a gym! No more rainy-day recesses in the classroom. I cannot tell you how happy this makes me.

I’m also ridiculously happy about this:


Who knew that a few sheets of colored copy paper from the office, a bit of scotch tape from my desk, and about five minutes of my time could so easily solve a problem that has bothered me all through my teaching career? Why didn’t I think of this ten years ago? I’ve learned that I’m not the only person who suffers from the brightness and incorrect color spectrum of fluorescent lights, so I’m passing on the idea to anyone who needs it. Maybe it looks cheesy, but what does that matter in an elementary classroom? And, by the way, the kids love it.

N prayed the other morning, “. . . and help us not to get angry at each other when we are playing at recess.” Yes and amen, Lord. We have a little work to do in that area. Watching the transformation of young lives as they become men and women who love God with all their hearts is more beautiful and miraculous than seeing metamorphosis in nature, but it takes a little longer.

Meanwhile, we patiently watch and pray and do our part to the best of our ability, trusting the only One who is able to change hearts.




5 thoughts on “Metamorphosis and Such

  1. My reading tells me that monarchs are struggling right now, but there are a bunch around here apparently. I finally lost track when we were up to 30+ monarch and 30+ black swallowtail caterpillars in our classroom. We also had 2 variegated fritillaries. It has been an amazing experience!

    • Nice! My search for black swallowtails this year was fruitless, but the monarchs were awesome. Isn’t it so much fun to be able to share things like this with a group of wonder-filled children?

      • Very! My swallowtail crop was accidental. I planted carrots in my garden, not knowing they are a host plant. I think I will be planting carrots again next year!

  2. Speaking of monarch butterflies, you might be interested in reading Barbara Kingsolver’s “Flight Behaviour.”

    I loved this glimpse into your classroom and the magnificent work of metamorphosis. I think you should sing a pirate song as your kids walk the plank. 🙂 Looks like you will have an invigorating year!

    • A pirate song–haha! I’m sure you never would have guessed that on the very first day I had to intervene when my boys were making a game out of pushing each other off the “bridge.”

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